Yelena Isinbayeva and Shamil Tarpishchev – the only Russian members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – have been given permission to attend tomorrow’s Session, where the organisation’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is set to be addressed.
The IOC has reiterated that Isinbayeva and Tarpishchev are “not representatives of their country” as they look set to participate in the third and final part of the 139th Session.
Isinbayeva and Tarpishchev are expected to access the hybrid meeting remotely along with the majority of IOC members. There have been calls for the IOC to exclude officials from Russia and Belarus in response to the war in Ukraine.
But the IOC has refused to take such action, meaning Tarpishchev and two-time Olympic pole vault gold medallist Isinbayeva – elected in 1994 and 2016 respectively – are allowed to remain as members of the organisation.
“Under the Olympic Charter, IOC members are not representatives of their country within the IOC,” a statement from the IOC read.
“They are on the contrary elected as individuals by the IOC and then delegates them as ambassadors of the IOC to the sports organizations of their country.”
The IOC added that Isinbayeva “did not participate” in the latest Athletes’ Commission calls but failed to give any reasons for her absence.
The war in Ukraine has caused a huge impact on the sporting landscape since the second part of the IOC Session was held in Beijing on 19 February.
Shortly after the conclusion of the Winter Olympics in the Chinese capital, Russia – backed by Belarus – launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.
The IOC responded by calling on all International Federations to stop Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in events and preventing the two countries from hosting competitions.
Sporting organisations have largely adhered to the IOC’s recommendations, focusing Russia and Belarus to become pariahs in the world of sport, while the war in Ukraine looks set to reach the three-month mark.
The Russian and Belarusian Olympic Committees have avoided sanctions to date over the widely-condemned invasion of Ukraine.
The IOC’s response to the war was due to be discussed by members of the organisation’s Executive Board during back-to-back meetings held on 17 and 19 May.
insidethegames understands IOC President Thomas Bach is set to address the situation during his opening speech at tomorrow’s Session.
Other items on the agenda include the IOC’s Ethics Commission elections and the appointment of Honorary Members.
The IOC’s financial situation is set to be unveiled when presenting the organisation’s annual report for 2021.(Reuters)